INDIAN GRAND PRIX FRIDAY PRACTICE DRIVE QUOTES…
“Friday’s are always difficult with so many things changing. The track improvement was quite big today, it was dusty to start and improved lap by lap, so I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow the order is different, but we’ve had worse Fridays, so I am happy. We need to keep working and improve a little bit overnight.”
“That went pretty well. I had a lock-up in Turn 1, which I could have done without, but it wasn’t the end of the world. We got on with the important stuff, which is understanding the soft tyre on short and long runs. We’ll have a look where we can improve the car, you can always improve. The team is incredibly motivated and the drivers also.”
Pedro de la Rosa
“I loved the circuit. It’s really nice and also very challenging. You have to use the kerbs a lot and the car really suffers, so we have to drive carefully. Overall I had good sensations with the balance of the car, especially in the afternoon when I was able to do more laps. But we’ve still got a lot of room for improvement and if we’re able to improve the balance of the car we’ll be able to run better. Especially in changes of direction because we lose too much time on quick corners and we can correct that. Now we must continue working on the set-up of the car to have a good qualifying session tomorrow”.
“It was a great feeling racing in India once again, at home. The first session went pretty well and in the afternoon we decided to change the balance of the car to improve certain aspects. We’d just set the soft tyres when, unfortunately, we suffered a hydraulic failure which impeded us from improving our times. But the problem should be fixed for tomorrow so I hope to have a good qualifying session”.
Giedo van der Garde (in Heikki Kovalainen’s car for FP1):
“It was another good session for me today and one I want to dedicate to my Grandpa who sadly passed away last week. I know he’s always been very proud of me and he told me to enjoy myself whenever I’m driving, so I made sure I did today. The circuit is pretty technical but I was up to speed quickly and didn’t have any problems getting through the plan we were running today. One thing that was really obvious was just how much the track evolves – even on my first run I could feel the grip levels improving with every lap, so by Sunday it will probably feel very different, but for me in FP1 it was fine.
“I’ll be back in the car again next week in Abu Dhabi at a track I know well, and then I have two full days at the Yas Marina Circuit in the young driver test. It’s good to keep adding to the mileage I’ve already done this year and I’m really pleased with how much progress I’m making with the car and the team in general.”
“Having sat out FP1 the key for me was getting through as many laps as possible and I’m pleased with what we achieved in FP2. The balance has been pretty good all afternoon on both tyre compounds – we did have some understeer in the high speed corners on the first run on the soft tyres but we dialled that out for the long run and the car felt good as the grip levels kept improving. It’s good to see clear air between us and the cars behind and maybe we can play with the tyre strategy tomorrow to push closer to the cars ahead – that has to be the aim.”
“FP1 went well for me. Even though there wasn’t a lot of grip early on the car felt pretty good and we got through a lot of aero work that gives us data to work on tonight. In FP2 we were again running well but on my second run on the soft tyres it looked like we might have had a problem with the engine so we ended the session a little early to let the Renault Sport F1 guys take a look and make sure we prevented any damage. Until that point the car had again felt good and we’d found a balance where deg levels on the tyres were very manageable. I think we’re in quite good shape for tomorrow and Sunday so hopefully we can have a strong weekend here in India.”
“The circuit is nice. For me it was easier to learn than the Korean track ; it’s not as technical but it’s good. It’s always nice to come to a new place like this – I’ve been racing for many years, and you always end up going to the same places so it’s good when you get a new place and a new circuit. For sure we can still improve on one lap but I think we are not far away from our maximum speed. Of course I hope that we are faster than McLaren. Our car was working well, especially on soft tyres but with the hard tyres it was more difficult to find grip.”
“It’s been very hard to set-up the car as the track has been evolving a lot through the day ; from zero grip in the morning to much better in the afternoon. However, we’ve made good progress today and we’re working on improving further overnight. There are a few blind corners, and some quick places where you don’t want to make mistakes either. Hopefully we find the car we want for qualifying and get what we want tomorrow.”
Paul Di Resta
“It was not an easy session for me. The balance is still not perfect and we need to work hard tonight to try and improve that before final practice. The main issue of the day was the puncture I picked up half-way through FP2 because I missed out on my high-fuel run on the soft tyres. Also, it was hard to get a clean lap during my low fuel run because the track was so busy. We’ve got data with the other car but it would have been helpful to have run more laps and got a proper feel for the soft.”
“It was my first experience of the Buddh circuit today and I have to say they have done a really nice job. There’s a good flow to the lap and the second sector is very technical and challenging. The programme for me today was quite straightforward because we managed to do everything we wanted. I completed a decent long run on the soft tyres this afternoon and I think we are quite well prepared going into tomorrow.”
We were working hard to get the optimum car set-up today so we had to try a number of things to get the right balance during the second session. On the whole we have had a very productive day and completed what we had set out to do. Now we need to work on improving our set-up ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying.
Today the pace wasn’t quite where we want it to be for qualifying so we will have to work hard and analyse where we can improve to give us the sort of one-lap pace that will get us into Q3. Our long runs continue to be strong though, like they have been all season, so that’s encouraging for the race itself.
It was a good first practice today because we managed to complete a busy programme. We completed some good aero evaluations and managed to get a good amount of data. This was my first time driving this circuit and I can tell that it will become one of my favourites because it has a nice flow to it and the surface is very smooth which means that tyre wear is lower so you can push the car a bit more.